Coaches’ Group Rebukes Critics of Academic Efforts

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 9, 2007

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The BCA board of directors issued a statement on Monday saying it was “disturbed” by two recent comments from academicians about the scholarship of “student-athletes in general and scholarship of black student-athletes in particular.”

Specifically:

> In late September, the New York Times published a story about a Rutgers professor who was trying to get his university to de-emphasize athletics on that campus. In the story, English professor William C. Dowling was asked about the role athletics has played in giving scholarships to minority students.

“If you were giving the scholarship to an intellectually brilliant kid who happens to play a sport, that’s fine,” Dowling was quoted in the article. “But they give it to a functional illiterate who can’t read a cereal box, and then make him spend 50 hours a week on physical skills. That’s not an opportunity. If you want to give financial help to minorities, go find the ones who are at the library after school.”

>In a 2006 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Auburn professor James Gundlach accused the school of giving improper grades to student-athletes.

“I was always appreciative of the supposed opportunity it gave minority students to get an education, but when they get a fake education, it undermines it,” Gundlach was quoted in the story.

“We just felt it was time to stand up and say ‘enough’s enough,’” said Floyd Keith, executive director of the BCA. “That does not represent what is really going on with the vast majority of the black student-athletes.”

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